If the ball is hit anywhere near centerfield, there is a good chance Abington Heights senior Josh Slocum will track it down.
“He can really go get the ball and covers the gaps very well,” Abington Heights head coach Bill Zalewski said. “We always thought his defense was very good, but now we know when the ball is hit in his direction, he’s gonna get it. He’s really the anchor of our outfield. He helps the corner outfielders out a lot with his range, that’s why we put him in centerfield.”
According to Zalewski, the Clarks Summit resident can also be counted on when the team needs a spark.
“He’s a real clutch hitter in key situations,” he said. “ He’s a good, solid baseball player.”
Zalewski added that Slocum has taken on an added leadership role as a senior.
“He’s one of our team captains this year,” he said. “I noticed him take a lot of the young players, especially the outfielders, under his wing and really push them through the drills and keep them focused. He’s an outstanding leader and a great teammate.”
Zalewski believes the secret to Slocum’s success is simple: hard work and repetition.
“He’s a very dedicated baseball player,” he said. “At practice, when we’re done taking fly balls and reps in the cages, he always wants to take extra. He works hard to improve every skill that he has.”
Slocum, 18, kept busy as a youth, playing multiple sports, including baseball.
“I was five years old when I started T-ball,” he said. “I was an athletic kid when I was little. I wrestled and played football and I wanted to play three sports.”
Slocum credited his vision, both in the field and at the plate, for his success during his high school career.
“One of my best skills is picking up the ball in the outfield,” he said. “I see the ball well off the bat. I also see the ball well off the pitcher’s hand when it’s coming in.”
The future Colonel thinks the experiences from playing travel baseball have been the biggest reason for his improvement as a player.
“I have been playing baseball all summer since I was 10 years old,” Slocum said.
According to Slocum, Zalewski’s tutelage has also played a role in his progress on the diamond.
“We’ve worked a lot in the outfield,” he said. “He’s also helped with my hitting. When I’m doing something wrong, he let’s me know so that I can work on it.”
As a senior, Slocum has worked to set a positive path for the underclassman to follow.
“I like to set a good example for the younger kids,” he said. “Hopefully, they will take the tradition that has been established at Abington Heights and carry it on.”
The Comets are off to a 8-5 start and handed Valley View their only loss of the season.
“We’re playing very well as a team and our pitching is doing very well for us,” Slocum said.
The son of Mark and Barb Slocum is also a member of the wrestling team at Abington Heights.
Slocum plans to attend Wilkes University next fall to study mechanical engineering and play baseball.